You may know EPTIS: the website www.eptis.orgon which PT providers publish and announce their PT schemes. Today, we list around 1350 PT schemes from 300 PT providers in 30 countries. Laboratories worldwide can use this free and easy service to find a suitable PT scheme. But do laboratories really use EPTIS and do they use it worldwide?
The bad news: we cannot tell exactly. The best way to find out would be interviewing a large number of laboratories in various countries. But this is costly and beyond our possibilities.
The good news: we can use other indicators that give us a rough picture. The most powerful information at our disposal are the IP numbers of computers that visit the EPTIS website. They provide some of the figures we are looking for. What can we learn from them about EPTIS?
Is it used? The number of visitors is relatively easy to determine. The EPTIS website is visited around 2000 times per month (no robots and multiple counts of the same IP). We have been monitoring this figure since the beginning of EPTIS in 2000 and it has grown smoothly over the years. Although not every visitor might run a query in the database itself, we believe it is a very helpful indicator showing that EPTIS is widely used and accepted.
Used by whom? IP numbers are traceable to specific hosts and this enables us to identify part of the organizations that visit EPTIS. For confidentiality reasons we will not make these details public. There are many laboratories, companies and institutes among our visitors, and though we are not able to resolve all IP numbers, we have the impression that EPTIS is used mainly by our target groups indeed.
Used where? IP numbers are also traceable to specific countries. To learn more about the geographic origin of our visitors we bundled the IP numbers of April – June and removed robots and double entries (on a month by month basis). Then we resolved the IP numbers, determined the countries and drew up the graph below. Interestingly,
- EPTIS was consulted from 135 countries worldwide (further analysis shows: 111 countries in 2007 and 125 in 2009);
- large economies (in terms of GDP) such as Brazil, China, Germany and the United States use EPTIS most, Japan being an exception;
- there are many smaller, developing economies that together account for 30-40% of the requests.
This analysis suggests that EPTIS is used by many laboratories and other organizations throughout the world. Considering that EPTIS started purely as an EU project in 2000, we find this development very encouraging. And we are particularly happy with our role helping laboratories in developing countries by improving their access to PT.
On behalf of the organizations involved in the EPTIS Consortium we would like to thank you for your use of, and trust in EPTIS. And should there be a gap on the map or if you have any idea how we could do more for your particular country or region, please let us know.
Johannes van de Kreeke, EPTIS Secretariat, BAM Berlin (Germany) – firstname.lastname@example.org